• Josh Green

    Great post Elliot, you raise some ver valid points. 

  • Renato Gelforte

    Hi Elliot,
    excuse me for my poor english, but I can’t grab the meaning of your last sentence: “Rule #4080 Don’t use QR codes. ever.”
    Do you mean “Don’t insert a QR codes into an email”? That it make a sense for me, or do you mean “Never use a QR-Code in whatever circumstances”?

    Industrial Rule #4080 remind me to “do not trust anybody whose actions in a particular situation are driven by the urge to make money”. Am I completly off the rail? Or whatelse?

    Thanks in advance for enlighten me.

    • http://www.elliot-ross.co.uk/ Elliot Ross

      Hey Renato!

      Rule 4080 is from a Tribe Called Quest Song (Industry Rule number 4080 – record company people are shady)

      the point is that QR codes don’t often (ever?) add value when they’re added in an email campaign. It’s debatable whether they’re that useful elsewhere too – they can only be read by a machine, whereas a regular URL can be read by both humans and computers..

      this site has plenty of badly implemented ones – http://wtfqrcodes.com/

      • Renato Gelforte

        I agree with you, that many use QR-Code in a wrong way. The majority do not care even about the landing page that should be designed for mobile device.
        Absolutely agree with the uselessness of a QR-Code into emailing!
        Anyhow I would like to show you a good example where the QR-Code is not used as a single channel for response in a printed direct mail campaign.
        The user can respond in many different ways, and if he choose the QR-Code he will lend in a personalized page.
        I would like to have your opinion about it:


  • http://www.facebook.com/joeydavis Joey Davis

    Great article. As someone who is exploring responsive e-mails I have a question – I’ve read from several sources to never use CSS in e-mails. One very reputable app we use at my company will even strip CSS out!  Yet all responsive e-mail articles say to use CSS. So I’m a little confused. Any insight? Thanks.

    • http://www.elliot-ross.co.uk/ Elliot Ross

      Hey Joey

      as with all things coding email – css is a tricky subject. So as a basic rule – code old school for the desktop, using inline css if you have to. Then you can use embedded CSS in the head section for the media queries. 

      email apps that strip out CSS are a pain in the arse! it’s a weird one, as on one hand they’re being useful in that if you put web style CSS in, they’ll fix that, but on the other hand, when you actually have to use CSS for the limited times it works in email, they then serve to get in the way..

      • Vik

        OOOR… you can always put the CSS code under the body tag, and it’ll would everywhere – just throwing it out there

        • http://www.elliot-ross.co.uk/ Elliot Ross

          even in gmail? that’s always stripped out the tag.. i’ll do a couple tests

  • Jean Butterfield

    Yo Elliot, Question:
    In this article you’ve mentioned a couple of times about trying to keep the same content for mobile/desktop versions which is a fair point, but if I wanted to direct a desktop user and a mobile user to different destinations after a click through is that possible? Reasoning behind this being that sometimes certain website features aren’t mobile optimised so it would be ace if desktop users could still see the full features but I could direct mobile users elsewhere.
    Let me know your thoughts.

    • http://www.elliot-ross.co.uk/ Elliot Ross

      Hey Jean, hope all’s good!

      interesting point – and I think it’s probably something that many people want to do. So there’s a few ways to go about this.

      you can keep one url in the email html, and then once users click, either:
      – use some script either in your email tool (if it can) or on your web server that detects which device the user has, and then redirects them to either the mobile or desktop site.
      – or design the website/landing page so it’s responsive also, and then can be one html that adapts, in the same way as the email would

      or alternatively, it can be a bit tricky, but you could switch the call to action buttons around so that one is displayed on a desktop, and then a different button is displayed on a mobile. The catch here is that the difference is based on screen size, and those users where responsive/media queries aren’t supported (eg. Blackberrys and Android Gmail app) will still get the desktop email, and therefore the desktop cta.

      hope that helps!